Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Poop - Stools, Coprophagia

First it is important to identify why your dog is eating poop - also called stool eating or coprophagia. Understanding why your puppy or dog is eating poop will help you identify the most appropriate strategy for correcting the situation. You can do a quick analysis by going here.

My approach is a holistic approach. By making sure you address all contributing factors to an issue you have the best opportunity to resolve the issue.

Don’t punish your dog as this will not resolve the issue and will create additional problems. Instead work to change your dog’s habits and perhaps some of your habits too.

I recommend that you go through the list below, decide which items apply to your situation and implement changes to help your dog leave the habit behind (pardon the pun).

 to stop your dog from eating poop

#1 Clean-up the Poop

Puppy and Dog Poop
Pick up your dog’s poop as soon as he/she eliminates. This is the #1 most effective method to curb the habit dog-poop eating - also known as coprophagia or stool eating. If you have a large property or your yard backs on to a forested make sure you clean the stools from the immediate surround of the house.

Remove Access to Cat Poop
Don’t set your puppy or dog up for failure, set him/her up for success by placing cat litter boxes where your puppy or dog cannot access them. My cat litter boxes are not accessible to my dogs - a simple and effective approach.

Wild Animal Poop - Rabbit, Deer...
This is one form of poop eating that you really must be present to stop. Even dogs on a truly biologically appropriate diet may still choose to indulge in this form of poop eating sometimes.

#2 Review Your Dog’s Diet

Processed Dry Dog Food
Processed dry dog food is a common trigger for poop eating as dogs are not evolved to exist on an exclusively dry processed food diet.  Making matters worse - the vast majority of processed pet food is poor quality - this is true for inexpensive products and many of the expensive  products.

Add Quality Digestive Enzymes
Your dog’s pancreas may not be able to make enough digestive enzymes to support his/her digestive requirements. In the absence of sufficient enzymes many dogs will naturally look to self medicate by seeking out alternate sources of digestive enzymes - hence ingestion of other dogs poop, rabbit poop, deer poop, cat poop etc.

If your dog is on a diet of processed dog food - the chance of enzyme deficiency is greater - in which case your dog will benefit from having good source digestive enzymes added to each of his/her meals. This will help with the absorption of nutrients.

Add Quality Probiotics
Viable (live) probiotics are another important element in the digestion of food. Don’t count on the probiotics included in processed dry dog food - the heating and processing kills the probiotics rendering them useless.

Vitamin B and Potassium
Add vitamin B rich foods to your dog’s daily diet - my dog’s get bee pollen, garlic, as well other B vitamin and potassium rich foods, herbs and nutraceuticals.

#3 Address Behavior Issues

Resolve Anxiety
As noted here, anxiety is another trigger for poop eating in dogs. If your dog is anxious it’s time to work on resolving his/her anxiety issues. This is something that should be done for your dog’s long-term health and happiness anyway.

Work On Recall and General Attentiveness
If you have not yet developed good recall and attentiveness between you and your dog it is time to work on doing so. Again, as with anxiety this is something that should be done for the over-all health of you and your dog’s relationship, your dog’s health, happiness and safety. If your dog is indulging in poop eating solely out of greediness improving recall and general attentiveness is essential.

#4 Offer a Healthy Alternative
This is last on my list as I am not big on ‘treat training’ and if used exclusively without consideration of the other interventions listed above you may make matters worse…

If you see your dog is about to partake of poop offer your dog a real whole food ‘treat’ rich in vitamins and nutrients. My dogs love fruits and veggies, cheese, yogurt, natural peanut butter, tahini, hummus. You can make your own chicken or meat jerky - go natural and forget about processed food and treats.

#5 If After Diligently Implementing All of the Above
Your dog still indulges in eating poop eating. Your dog may just be a greedy eater, or less likely but possible - there may be an underlying medical reason for his/her chronic coprophagia. You can get some blood work done by your veterinarian to see if a medical issue may be causing the poop eating.

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Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

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